You slowly wake up, groggy and sleepy eyed.  The sun is peeking through the window, which is odd.  It’s too early for the sun to be up that high. Suddenly, your heart jumps up into your throat.  Your alarm didn’t go off!  

While running down the hall, you try to figure out how you’re going to make up 45 minutes that you don’t have.  As you’re scurrying by your child’s bedroom, you notice the door is still closed. She’s apparently sleeping in, too.  Did she finally get over that sleep regression?

Right before you hit the bathroom, you step directly in dog vomit.  Should I bring him to work with me today?  We’ll give it 24 hours.  After quickly cleaning that up, and taking a fast shower, you realize your favorite pants aren’t dry.  

After figuring out something else to wear, you zombie walk to the kitchen, desperately seeking out a cup of coffee.  You make it to the kitchen, only to realize that the coffee machine is broken (or in my case, the tea kettle won’t close).  Maybe you’ll have enough time to stop by a coffeehouse before work?

As you’re downing a cup of milk, you realize your daughter is still not out of bed.  You go in to check on her. She’s sitting on the edge of her bed, looking just as groggy as you did 30 minutes earlier.  She feels warm, but her temperature says 98 degrees. You end up having to force clothes on her. You throw her hair up into a ponytail, yours as well.

While on your way out the door, you quickly grab a bagel.  You offer to grab one for your daughter, but she quietly says “no, thank you.”

You notice that she is very quiet on the way to daycare.  There is no singing or excessive talking. There’s no chatting to her imaginary friend.  Maybe she had a restless night last night and didn’t sleep well.

Your daughter gives you a kiss and a big hug when you drop her off at daycare.  She’s holding on tight, and it seems like she doesn’t want to let you go.  Once you finally peel her off, she doesn’t run into the classroom but walks very slowly.

You shake it off.  She’s just having a bad morning.  You rush back to the car to get to work.  There’s so much traffic, so many impatient drivers (you’re probably one of them).  Is everyone late for work?

After finally arriving to work, your technician lets you know that your first appointment is already waiting for you in Room 1, there’s a walk-in emergency in Room 2, and new blood work needs to be done on the hospitalized toxicity case.  

There are appointments every 15 minutes all day long.  Several will be sick patients that will require blood work and other diagnostics.  You notice that you’re starting to get 30-45 minutes behind. Some owners start making snide remarks and comments.  You try to ignore them but the remarks cut deep.

Finally, you get the bathroom break you’ve been waiting on all morning when your phone rings…

Daycare is calling.

The teachers noticed your daughter was very quiet and didn’t want to participate in her favorite activities.  She is running a fever, has started coughing, acts cold, and wants to sleep. She needs to be picked up as soon as possible, and can’t come back for at least 24 hours after the fever breaks.

Here’s the problem… you’ve got a full line-up of appointments.  Your husband (or significant other) is out-of-town, and both grandparents are busy or live too far away.

What do you do?

Here’s where it gets tricky.  There is no right answer. Like running late, getting a kid dressed and to school, then making it to work on time wasn’t tricky enough, now you’ll have to maneuver around tweaking your schedule.  

Hopefully there are enough doctors and technicians at your clinic that you can take a small amount of time off.  Maybe there is an area at your clinic that your child can hang out. Is there a TV? Tablet? Couch? Pillow? Blanket? I’ve even seen some moms make up a large dog kennel with blankets and pillows for their kid to sleep.  

Now, what does this teach us?

We need to realize that we’re all human beings trying to survive in this world, and shit happens that we can’t control.

To the owners/bosses/office managers:

Please be aware and considerate of these situations.  The moms and dads that work at your clinics are just that, parents.  They are trying to raise little humans that will eventually help benefit society.  Their kids will come first, the job second, and that’s the way it’s suppose to be. Clients will also have to understand.  If they don’t, do you really want them as clients, anyway? Also, please be accepting of their children in the clinic. They may have no where else to go, especially if family doesn’t live close.

To the parents:

Be as efficient and courteous as you can.  There are people covering for you that are having to work harder last minute, adding more stress to their lives.  This goes for many other situations as well: vacations, maternity leave, disability leave, and personal sick days.  You may have the time off, but your coworkers are working longer hours/fuller days to make up for it. Please, remember this the next time a fellow coworker needs time off and you have to increase your workload.  Remember what sacrifices were made to make your situation easier.

Parents, please have well behaved kids.  They need to learn and understand that they are at a place of business and need to treat it with respect.  Spending time at mommy and daddy’s place of work is a special responsibility, not a right. They don’t need to be entering the exam rooms or messing with animals in the treatment room without asking.  

It’s never an ideal situation when daycare calls.  Tensions run high and stress happens. So, be kind and understanding.  Because it may just happen to you tomorrow.

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